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New data narrative “Utah’s Education Pipeline” analyzes preschool to postsecondary readiness and access

February 12, 2019

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The Utah Data Research Center (UDRC) released a new data narrative “Utah’s Education Pipeline” for an in-depth look at education readiness and access from preschool (P) through postsecondary education (20), also known as the P20 metrics. In addition, it explores education and training for workforce preparation and meeting industry needs.

We spoke with Allison Stapleton-Shrivastava, one of the UDRC researchers on the project, to learn more about the importance of this research for informing public policy in Utah. Click here to view the full data narrative.

Q: What are the P20 metrics and where did they come from?

Allison: The P20 metrics are a set of indicators used to measure the health of our state’s education system and its effectiveness in providing postsecondary access and preparation for workforce participation. These metrics were defined by an education interim committee in hopes of giving a more holistic understanding of the education pipeline in Utah.

Q: What types of things do the metrics measure?

Allison: The metrics are organized in a dashboard that walks the reader from pre-school to graduation comparing different indicators by institution type, demographic information, and by peer and benchmark states measuring everything from performance in core subjects to the percent of the population with a bachelor’s degree.

Q: Why is it important to track this type of data?

Allison: While many of these metrics have been tracked before by different institutions, this is the first time they have appeared together in a single dashboard. This is incredibly important because students interact with different education systems throughout their lifetime. Understanding how factors such as performance in early education affect college readiness will help stakeholders make informed decisions in helping Utah’s students achieve a bright future.

Q: What is the main takeaway from this research?

Allison: The biggest takeaway from the P20 metrics is the importance of measuring a variety of outcomes over time and how doing so provides new richness and depth in understanding Utah’s education pipeline and workforce participation. Access to higher education and gainful employment does not just happen at the time of high school graduation, but throughout one’s educational career.

Q: How did UDRC coordinate and collaborate with partners to gather this information?

Allison: UDRC is lucky enough to have involved and informed data partners who provided a wealth of context, texture, and guidance for the P20 metrics. We met with our partners to ensure we were using the correct variables and understood all aspects of the data in use.

Q: How often will the P20 metrics be updated?

Allison: The metrics will be updated annually. These updates will include any changes to the way an indicator is measured, for example, changes to the type of test that is used to measure proficiency.

Q: How does this research help meet UDRC’s goal of providing data to inform public policy?

Allison:The more stakeholders understand how different education systems work in conjunction with one another and the distribution of opportunities available to Utah students, the better prepared they are to inform policy decisions.

Q: Anything else to add?

Allison: The P20 dashboard comes at a time of growth for Utah. It will be interesting to see how the information captured in the metrics may evolve over time in Utah as our state continues to expand and change. Capturing access and distribution of post-secondary attainment as well as achievement during the early years of education will help to ensure that Utah continues to have a competitive workforce and a strong economy.

To learn more about the Utah Data Research Center, visit